All bell peppers start out green; it’s only when fully ripe that they turn red, yellow, or orange, says Renee Shepherd, a gardening cook and specialty seed retailer. “People who claim they don’t like peppers have probably only eaten green ones—I think biting into a ripe, crunchy bell pepper is as good as eating an apple,” she adds. Look for firm, brightly colored peppers with no soft spots, and pass over soft or withered ones. Though Holland peppers are great looking and uniform in shape, “they won’t be as spectacular in flavor as domestic bell peppers that have ripened on the vine,” says Bill Neely of Indian Rock Produce.
A mix of red, yellow, and orange bell peppers is delicious in a stir-fry or a ragoût, and bell peppers are great, of course, broiled, grilled, or roasted until the skin is blistery and then skinned and tucked into sandwiches or tossed with pasta. One of my favorite ways to use bell peppers (especially when I find them on sale) is to cook up a big batch of Bell Pepper Soup with Sour Cream & Dill.